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General News    H3'ed 6/26/08

Ex Weapons Inspector: Iran Not Pursuing Nukes, But U.S. Will Attack Before '09

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“The IAEA acknowledges that what it’s asking Iran to answer has nothing to do with its mandate of the nuclear non proliferation treaty. It is related to Security Council resolutions calling for the suspension of uranium and an investigation into a nuclear weapons program but the bottom line is what the IAEA has said is that Iran has not been forthcoming and Iran is saying it’s not their job to answer the CIA’s questions. So the IAEA reports that Iran is not being forthcoming on these issues and now it’s unnamed diplomats, i.e. American and British diplomats, who say they are very concerned because Iran’s refusal to cooperate only reinforces their concern that Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons program.

"This is purely CIA instigated tripe. When we get down to the nuts and bolts of the technical question of Iran’s uranium enrichment program and whether or not there’s any infrastructure in Iran that supports a nuclear weapons program and the IAEA technical find says there is none,” Ritter said.

Mohammed ElBaradei, the head of the IAEA, said in an interview last week with Al Arabiya Television that he would resign from the agency if Iran is attacked and warned that a military strike against the country would be catastrophic.

"I don’t believe that what I see in Iran today is a current, grave and urgent danger. If a military strike is carried out against Iran at this time … it would make me unable to continue my work,” ElBaradei said. "A military strike, in my opinion, would be worse than anything possible. It would turn the region into a fireball,” he said, emphasizing that any attack would only make the Islamic Republic more determined to obtain nuclear power."

Israel Not Involved


Ritter said an attack on Iran would come in the form of a “sustained aerial bombardment.” He added that a military strike would not involve Israel as asserted last weekend by John Bolton, the former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, who told Fox News that Israel would attack Iran after the presidential election in the fall. Moreover, Ritter said a report in The New York Times last week that alleged Israel conducted a major aerial exercise over the eastern Mediterranean as a warning to Iran is simply untrue.

“Only a few analysts have reflected on what I’ve said all along: Israel cannot initiate and sustain an air strike against Iran,” Ritter explained. “They’re incapable of it because they don’t have the military force. They don’t share a common border [with Iran]. They have to fly over sovereign states. The immediate international outcry would be tremendous. When we sought to fly U2 aircraft into Iraq when I was a weapons inspector if we felt that the Iraqis delayed in their acknowledgement the United States Air Force would SORTE a support package to go in. That included electronic warfare aircraft, refueling aircraft, etc. Just to get one U2 to fly a mission over Iraq with a support package involved 80 aircraft.

“For Israel to strike Iran, and remember Iran isn’t Iraq, Iran has a viable air-defense system, an Air Force, radar, and Israel would have to suppress it all and it can’t do it,” Ritter added. “Israel just doesn’t have the capability. Israel does not have the ability to initiate and sustain major combat operations against Iran. Israel is not going to start this fight. It will be the United States. All this talk about Israel getting involved I minimize that. Israel’s not going into Iran.”

Ritter said Bolton’s comments is an indicator that the “clock is running out” for ideologues in the Bush administration.

“It’s becoming increasingly clear that John McCain is not going to become the next president of the United States of America, which means the next administration has the potential of deviating in a meaningful fashion away from the policies of the current administration,” Ritter said. “Clearly, the Bush administration is populated by ideologues that are very serious about what they want to accomplish. They aren’t playing games here. They aren’t children. They are serious. They believe there is a threat to the United States and that the United States has to take action. Why I bring this up is that the clock is running out for them.”

Congress Refuses to Act

Ritter had some tough words for Washington lawmakers for continuously failing to put any obstacles into place to block the Bush administration from even attempting to attack Iran without first consulting Congress.

“We see not only has Congress not seeking to put any obstacles in the way of this policy but in fact Congress is actively facilitating this policy by refusing to enact legislation that would require the president to get the consent of Congress before going into Iran,” Ritter said. “The fact that Congress has opted out from tying the president’s hands reinforces, at least in the Bush administration’s mind, that Congress is legitimizing the potential of action.

“So when you put all of this together you start to see that there is not only a real risk of war but that those who would like to do it see that there aren’t any obstacles being put in the way of their accomplishing this, which makes the likelihood of military action even greater. Everyday that goes by without Congressional action is another day that reinforces that there will be a military strike against Iran.”

Ritter has been trying to pass along his intelligence analysis on Iran to Congress for some time. He said “given the political situation that exists I don’t think you’re going to find any politician on either side of the political spectrum reaching out to me or talking with me directly.”

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Jason Leopold is Deputy Managing Editor of and the founding editor of the online investigative news magazine The Public Record, He is the author of the National Bestseller, "News Junkie," a memoir. Visit (more...)
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